Woman's Christian Temperance Union

The Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was the first mass organization among women devoted to social reform with a program that "linked the religious and the secular through concerted and far-reaching reform strategies based on applied Christianity."

The WCTU was originally organized on December 23, 1873, in Hillsboro, Ohio, and officially declared at a national convention in Cleveland, Ohio in 1874. It operated at an international level and in the context of religion and reform, including missionary work as well as matters of social reform such as suffrage. Two years after its founding, the American WCTU sponsored an international conference at which the International Women's Christian Temperance Union was formed.

The connections and contradictions between the two parts of its purpose—Christianity and Temperance—meant that the women involved confronted ideological, philosophical, political and practical dilemmas in their efforts to improve society around the world. Although some labelled the Union as gender-biased, others disagreed by pointing out the many male supporters behind the scenes.

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